Sunday, December 29, 2013

How to choose a Word of the Year

New Year´s Day brings a clean slate. We feel we can start over, plan what we want to do, where we want to go to.

Some people write lists of New Year Resolutions, some choose a Word of the Year. For the past eight years I´ve belonged to the second group. You can click here to read which words worked and which ones didn´t

How do I use the Word? I use it as a compass. Quinn McDonald calls it a "verbal amulet". When I´m about to say Yes or No to something, I check if it takes me towards or away to where I´m going. If it takes me closer to my North I say Yes, if it takes me farther from it, I say "No, thanks.". Yes, I´m polite like that. ;) If you are going to choose your Word if the Year for 2014 I´ll tell you what helped me along the years. 

Tip 1: choose something that is really yours, not "what everbody else is doing". Trust me, the word doesn´t work if it doesn´t come from your own heart, story and wishes. 

Tip 2: start with questions on where you are and where you want to go. The "What brings me joy?" approach will remind you of things you might have lost sight of in the busyness of modern life.

Tip 3: choose positive words and not avoidance ones. For example "eat healthier" works better than "stop eating crap".

Tip 4: talking avoid avoidance, avoid the "should".
I had a look at a word list and mine wasn´t there. Why not? *dangerous path alarm* Was it not good enough? *comparison and shame alert, don´t go there my dear* Shouldn´t I ... *too late I was already using the word alert*
Well, no. My word is MY word. Your word is NOT about what you "should" do, it´s about how you want to feel.  Read tip 1 again.

Tip 5: "one word" is great for focus, a few carefully selected ones give you a strong structure to work on. Verbs are awesome because they point to action, phrases/sayings might work too. A personal favourite of mine for 2014 "Live long and prosper" #startreckfan

Christine Kane has this wonderful example of "resolutions vs. word of the year" on her blog:
Let’s say you are one of the many people who would normally choose “Get Organized” as a resolution. You look around to see clutter and crap all over your life. You’re tired of the chaos. So, you think, “I need to get organized. That should be my Resolution this year.”But then you read this article. You decide to try it.You sit with your clutter. You spend a few days pondering words that will inspire you. You realize in an “Ah-Ha!” moment that you tend to cling to lots of things. You’re scared to let go. So you choose the word “Release” because it inspires you in a bigger way than “Get organized.”So, every time you approach your clutter you remind yourself of that word. “Release,” you say softly. You start to let the clutter go.Eventually, you realize that you’re still holding on to lots more than just physical clutter. You realize that you hold onto resentment at old relationships. “Release,” you remind yourself.You realize that holding on is affecting your diet and health. “Release” applies to some of the extra weight you’ve gained as well.Throughout the year, you can see clearly how much you hold on. “Release” is your touchstone. It grows you throughout the year. It becomes your guiding force, not your harsh standard.Your clutter became your teacher simply because you shifted your intent towards it. This wouldn’t have happened if you’d opted only to “Get Organized.”
You can read more of Christine´s work on her site and download her Word of the Year discovery tool.

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misteejay said...

Thank you for sharing this Paula.

I hope 2014 proves to be another positive year for you.

Toni xx

Susan said...

My word for 2014 is "open". We must be thinking on the same wave link. I posted about my choosing a word each year earlier this week. My word last year was "stretch". I like your referencing "amulet". That is exactly what it is! Thanks for your post!

Francene Stanley said...

This is an interesting concept--to choose a word to last you the whole year. Maybe I've outgrown the need to concentrate my energies this way. At the beginning of the year, I'll have lived for 73 years. I hope I'm nearly at the end of my learning journey to perfect myself. However, the thought came to me recently that when I forgive, it should be wholehearted. ;-) Perhaps I'll choose that one. visiting from UBC.

Sian said...

A great, interesting, inspiring read today Paula. All the very best for you and the family in 2014, from everyone here


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